RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The adult content website Pornhub, one of the most visited sites in the world, has blocked users in Virginia over the state’s new age verification law.

The law taking effect July 1 will require websites with pornographic content to verify users in Virginia are at least 18 years old before they access the site’s content. The law, proposed by Republican state Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. (Franklin), sailed through the Virginia General Assembly.

Multiple efforts to reach MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub and other adult content websites, on Wednesday and Thursday were unsuccessful. But a message on the site Thursday details the reasons behind the move.

“The safety of our users is one of our biggest concerns. We believe that the best and most effective solution for protecting children and adults alike is to identify users by their device and allow access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that identification,” Pornhub wrote. “Until a real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Virginia.”

Once the law takes effect, adult websites need to set up a method to verify a user’s age such as requiring people to submit digital copies of their identification online, scans or through a particular system. Sites that don’t comply could be open to civil lawsuits in Virginia.

“The governor remains committed to protecting Virginia’s children from dangerous material on the internet,” a spokeswoman for Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in a statement.

The Free Speech Coalition — a trade association for the adult industry — and others filed a lawsuit challenging a similar law that recently went into effect in Utah. It’s unclear whether the group plans to file a legal challenge to Virginia’s law.

“It’s not a matter of if these laws will be ruled unconstitutional but when,” Mike Stabile, Free Speech Coalition’s spokesperson, told 8News Tuesday.

Stabile also raised concerns over the websites that won’t follow the new law, noting that many porn sites are owned by companies overseas that can skirt civil lawsuits filed in the U.S.

Utah and Virginia are not alone. Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi have passed similar laws, and several others have introduced age verification bills. The Free Speech Coalition filed a federal lawsuit against Louisiana’s law on June 20.

Alison Boden, the Free Speech Coalition’s executive director, sent a letter to Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) urging him to veto Stanley’s bill. Boden wrote that the group supports efforts to protect “young people from material that is age-inappropriate or harmful,” but listed issues it had with the bill.

“Adult content–even material harmful to minors– is First Amendment-protected speech and the Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that restrictions on its production and consumption face the highest legal bar: strict scrutiny,” Boden wrote to Youngkin on March 27.

Stabile told 8News that the group also reached out to every state lawmaker, but that coalition “heard silence.”